Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Paint It Black by Amy Lane

Everybody thinks Mackey Sanders and Outbreak Monkey is the last coming of Rock’n’Roll Jesus, but Cheever Sanders can't wait to get out of his home town and make a name for himself where nobody expects him to fill his famous brothers’ shoes. He’s tired of living in their shadow.

Blake Manning knows the feeling. He's been Outbreak Monkey's second lead guitarist for ten years. He’s come to terms with the fact that he’ll never be Grant Adams, the guy he replaced, and that Kell Sanders will never love him like Mackey loved Grant. He got this gig on luck and love, not talent. So watching Cheever blow through Outbreak Monkey's hard-earned money in an epic stretch of partying pisses him off.

Blake shows up at Cheever's nonstop orgy to enforce some rules, but instead of a jaded punk, he finds a lost boy as talented at painting as Mackey is at song-making, and terrified to let anybody see the real him. It’s something he and Blake have in common.

Both men have to make peace with being second banana in the public eye. Can they find the magic of coming absolute first with each other?

Add to Goodreads –

Book 2
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Beneath the Stain remains one of my all-time favourite m/m books, so this sequel had a lot to live up to. And for the most part, it delivers. Outbreak Monkey may be a proper A-list band in this story, but the Sanders family relationships are just as messy. At the start of the story, Cheever’s demons are slightly different than his brothers’, but his life hasn’t been easy and this second book adds child rape to the dark themes of addiction, depression, and abuse in the first book. This isn’t an easy read at times, but the unlikely relationship that develops between Blake and Cheever is pretty special.

With all the big personalities in Outbreak Monkey, Blake became the band member who faded into the background. Similarly, growing up with superstar brothers often made Cheever feel invisible. But Blake has always seen Cheever and it is Blake who comes to Cheever’s assistance when he hits rock bottom. For me, Cheever felt like an entitled asshole at times in the first book but in his own book, I found myself falling hard for the brother the band left behind. There’s a huge age gap between Cheever and Blake but the relationship works. There is much more communication and much less angst in this second story but there are moments where Cheever’s story is just as heartbreaking as Mickey’s was.

I really didn’t enjoy the domestication of Outbreak Monkey in this book. Mackey and Trav are almost bearable here but they do feel like dimmed versions of themselves. The women from the first book have almost been re-written into good little wives who guard communal fridges and keep popping out children. They feel more Mormon than counterculture and did not resemble their previous selves in any way. The many small children don’t help the rock star image at all and I felt like this book was missing the streak of wildness and sense of fun that balanced the darkness in the first story.

I enjoyed this book and I devoured it in a single sitting – but I don’t think I’ll remember it or re-read it like I have the first one. Beneath the Stain took me on a brutal emotional journey and I loved every moment of it. This book was a gentler, possibly more mature read and a chance to say goodbye to favourite characters who have grown up and are moving on.

AMY LANE is a mother of two college students, two grade-schoolers, and two small dogs. She is also a compulsive knitter who writes because she can’t silence the voices in her head. She adores fur-babies, knitting socks, and hawt menz, and she dislikes moths, cat boxes, and knuckle-headed macspazzmatrons. She is rarely found cooking, cleaning, or doing domestic chores, but she has been known to knit up an emergency hat/blanket/pair of socks for any occasion whatsoever, or sometimes for no reason at all. Her award-winning writing has three flavors: twisty-purple alternative universe, angsty-orange contemporary, and sunshine-yellow happy. By necessity, she has learned to type like the wind. She’s been married for twenty-plus years to her beloved Mate and still believes in Twu Wuv, with a capital Twu and a capital Wuv, and she doesn’t see any reason at all for that to change.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Paint It Black (Beneath the Stain #2) by Amy Lane to read and review.

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